Boston High School: April Adams

D2 softball final: Grafton 2, Burlington 1

June, 16, 2013

WORCESTER, Mass. -- If you are Grafton softball head coach John Gemme, you always like your chances when you hand the ball to pitcher Kendal Roy.

The junior right-hander is one of the upstart premier pitchers in the state and, once again, she put those talents on display Saturday and, in the process, made believers out of Burlington.

Playing an instrumental role in helping the Indians win their first Division 2 state championship a year ago, Roy was back at Rockwood Field looking to raise another banner. After working her way out of some early trouble, Roy got into a groove which spelled doom for the Red Devils as she pitched the Indians to their second consecutive state crown with a 2-1 victory.

Roy grew more-dominate as the game progressed. She finished her day by allowing just four hits while striking out 11. Burlington senior pitcher Kelly McCarthy, also solid in defeat, surrendered eight hits, fanning five.

"You get the first one and you say that's unbelievable because a lot of things have to go right," Gemme said. "To get a second one is a lot harder. There is a lot more work involved. Today we needed to be aggressive at the plate. McCarthy was trying to get ahead of our hitters so we felt lets just jump on that first pitch if its a strike. If she throws a first pitch strike lets not wait and just get after it right away. I thought we did a good job of that today."

Grafton (24-2) entered this contest having played its state semifinal game the night before at Turners Falls High School, where it defeated Wahconah Regional. The bus ride from Grafton to Montague is approximately 90 minutes. But a lack of sleep didn't seem to bother the Indians too much.

"We knew there wasn't a game after this one so we just wanted to go out and leave everything on the field," Roy said. "We came in pumped up on adrenaline from Friday night's win and we took it into this one today so I wasn't feeling any pain. I think we have proven that we are a good team and Grafton softball has a very good organization."

Grafton got on the board in the second inning. After McCarthy had set down the first two batters with ease, she issued a walk Makayla Ritzie. The sophomore then stole second before coming home on senior Marissa Ruggiero's solid single up the middle.

One inning later, Grafton was back at it. Amanda Voellings, a sophomore, singled and advanced to second on Ali Page's SAC bunt. Tara Faford (5-for-6 in her last two games) reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Roy then smacked an RBI single to center giving the Indians a 2-0 advantage.

Burlington (22-4) will look back on this game knowing it had some early chances to score on Roy. Three times during the first four innings they stranded runners in scoring position -- twice at third. But Roy, showing tremendous poise, managed to tight rope out of danger and keep the Red Devils off the scoreboard.

In the sixth, Burlington was able to manufacture a run. April Adams opened by reaching on a Voellings error at second base. After stealing second, Adams took third on catcher Ali Page's throwing error. With one out, Haley Currie hit a SAC fly to right allowing Adams to tag up and score.

Suddenly the Red Devils had come to life having closed to within a run. But in the seventh, Roy reached back for a little something extra and retired Burlington in order and claim another state championship.

"I don't think we've had anyone strike us out 11 times before today," said Red Devils head coach Kristen Mahoney, whose club fell to Wahconah in the 2011 title tilt. "We weren't able to adjust to [Roy] quick enough. We had some extra base hits early but that timely hit just wasn't there for us today."

Wahconah prevails over Burlington in 11 inn.

June, 19, 2011

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Struggling through the middle innings of Saturday's Div. 2 state championship softball game, Wahconah Regional ace Sam Burgner needed a pick-me-up.

The senior got that and more, as the Warriors rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and Shannon Lussier delivered Sara Hamilton with an 11th-inning single to give Wahconah a 4-3 victory over Burlington Saturday at Rockwood Park.

The win marks not only the first state title for the Warriors (24-1), but also the first time any softball team from Berkshire County won the crown.

"Its very special," said Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher. "I think we play a very good brand of softball in the Berkshires. I’m happy to be a part of it. The kids win the games but I’m happy to go along for the ride."

Hamilton led off the 11th with a single and scampered into second as the ball bouned around the outfield. Lauryn Huban sacrificed her to third, and wound up at safe at first after an errant throw. Two batters later, Lussier belted a single into centerfield, plating Hamilton with what proved to be the game-winning run as Burgner closed things out with a 1-2-3 inning.

"I didn’t want to let my team down and I knew I had to hit the ball," said a choked up Lussier afterward. "It felt like my perfect pitch and I wanted to drive it. I was so excited because it was a really big hit."

Added Hamilton, "I was on third and I was very nervous. Shannon hit one to center and I just took off and put my hands up. I was like thank goodness we finally got a run."

The way Burlington (23-3) fireballer Courtney Lanfranchi (12 strikeouts, one walk) was throwing, extra innings seemed like a remote possibility after her team grabbed a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. After stumbling through the first inning and allowing an RBI single by Hamilton, Lanfranchi breezed into the sixth while allowing just two baserunners over the next four innings.

Meanwhile, the offense was busy getting its ace a lead to work with. Amy Hunter led off the third with a walk, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Amber Eisenhauer, then moved to third on a groundout by April Adams. Leadoff batter Christina Raso promptly drove a liner up the middle that went off Burgner's shin, and her throw to first went wide as Hunter came across with Burlington's first run.

After stranding runners at second and third in the fourth, the Red Devils broke through again in the fifth on RBI singles by Stacey Bezreh and Jillian Mazure to make it 3-1.

Wahconah took advantage of a throwing error in the top of the sixth to tie it with both Gabby Lavinio, who started the inning with a leadoff triple, and Sara Hamilton scoring on the play.

Those runs seemed to breathe new life into Burgner, who left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth and set down 16 of the final 17 hitters she faced.

"I definitely got more confident," Burgner admitted. "I just got it in my head to hit my spots and not worry. My team did so much to get those runs back. I owed it to them to my part and hit my spots and do that for them."